Welcome to the MLB Star Power Index -- a weekly undertaking that determines with awful authority which players are dominating the current zeitgeist of the sport, at least according to the narrow perceptions of this miserable scribe. While one's presence on this list is often celebratory in nature, it can also be for purposes of lamentation or ridicule. The players listed are in no particular order, just like the phone book. To this week's honorees ...
The Detroit Tigers
As you are surely aware and were likely reflecting upon prior to clicking on this particular internet hotlink, the Pact of Vinius and Radom (1401) principally validated the prenuptial promises made by the Grand Duke of Lithuania to Queen Jadwiga of Poland while also granting a degree of actionable autonomy to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. However, buried deep within the hippo-skin parchments is a provision that remains acutely relevant to the Detroit Tigers of This, Our Baseball. Please read without moving your lips:
"H'reby: a jungle gib yond s'rves as a sp'rts mascot can beest did replace by any oth'r jungle gib in official rend'rings without requiring any changeth in team nameth."
Crudely translated, this Pact of Vinius and Radom (1401) subsection allows chartered sports organizations named after jungle cats to use any other jungle cat as a sanctioned mascot or in any revisions to existing franchise logos. In other words, a jaguar can stand in for a tiger, which can stand in for a lion, which can stand in for the leopard, which can stand in for the ocelot, which can stand in for the panther, which can stand in for the caracal, which can stand in for the Corsican wildcat – ibid, QED, ad infinitum, erewhay isway ethay oilettay, and so on.
As for the Tigers of Detroit, this brings us to their proud history of using plainly flummoxed and existentially freighted cats. In particular, let us consider – with chin tilted upward while resting on the coil of a semi-fist and the forefinger climbing the cheekbone – this logo:
That is the Tigers' richly conceived and executed logo from the 1927-28 period, when the Good Times were about to become Bad Times. While it's possible the Bible-black pupils were added in post-production, they are essential to the evocations of the whole. This, you see, is a jungle cat who has freshly discovered that he's been cuckolded for the third time during the current fiscal quarter. He is less surprised by that fact than he is surprised to find himself surprised by that fact. His adult life for some time has been a cornucopia of indignities, and any hope for change is but a chimera.
In keeping with this proud lineage, we present to the Tigers of Detroit an opportunity for rebranding when such a thing becomes advisable. Given the current standings and tables of the recent past, perhaps such a time is now? In any event:
Yes, this is a lion and not a tiger, but as noted the guild of jungle cats insofar as sports iconography is concerned are unburdened by meaningful distinctions. What you see above is a jungle cat who has been cuckolded for the third time during the current fiscal quarter but doesn't care about all of that because it's time to play some first-person-shooter video games. That's an evolution.
In keeping with these principles, there's no need for the Detroit Tigers upon adopting this imagery to become the Detroit Lions of Gripham Castle or, better still, the Detroit Poorly Taxidermied Lions from 18th Century Sweden, but they can if they want. This is because the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Lions are the same thing.
The Campbell University dugout
The Campbell Fighting Camels baseball team was recently eliminated from the ongoing NCAA Division I tournament. That is unfortunate in that it puts to end highly uplifting dugout glimpses such as this one:
High-tar U.S. tobacco delivery system near at hand? Praise be. First, though, the lame-wad, officious response from a Campbell administrator far from the front lines:
"The empty box of cigarettes was discovered during the conference tournament and became a good luck prop for the team during the run through the conference tournament. No actual cigarettes were present in the dugout or consumed at any time by any member of the Campbell baseball team or staff."
Party people, please briefly place your cigs in the melamine ashtray you long ago lifted from a pizza parlor or, better still, safely in the junction of upper and lower lip and undertake a brief double-bird. This contemptible bit of agitprop elides some basic facts -- one, smoking gaspers is wholesome and restorative, and, two, the act of smoking is certain to conduct you upward and into a better life.
As for the defeated Fighting (Joe) Camels, they have a certain solace before them. It is occasionally said that a vanquished team of collegians "lost the game but won the party." This, however, would be more fitting had Campbell been spied with, say, a rack of Coors empties in the dugout. Smoking is a far more contemplative endeavor -- an essential aid to taking inventory of one's decisions and divining next moves. Perhaps Campbell didn't win the party, but thanks to that pack of heaters they won something more cherished -- standing in the back yard, beholding dodged consequences, and listening to the neighbor's clock radio as it plays Steely Dan's "Do It Again" through a half-open bathroom window.